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Great Women 2012: Dr. Myiesha Taylor

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This is a Great Women of Texas profile from 2012: 

Myiesha Taylor’s desire to become a physician started early in her life.

Inspired by her grandmother and mother, both nurses who spent their careers working to provide quality health care in their communities, Taylor grew up with the dream of helping people address their health concerns.

“I know that I would not be a physician today if it was not for them,” she says. “Both my grandmother and mother demonstrated great courage throughout their lives and instilled in me the understanding that we can overcome any circumstance that may appear throughout our lives.”

A native of California, Taylor chose a career in emergency medicine after the tragic death of her father, Dwight, who was an innocent bystander killed in the gunfire of the 1992 Los Angeles riots that followed the controversial acquittal of white police officers in the famous Rodney King beating case. Her father died in the hospital after being shot during the riots.

“When I heard about my father’s death, I decided I wanted to become an acute care physician, a specialist that intervenes and offers assistance at critical times in patients’ lives,” she says.

Taylor graduated summa cum laude from Xavier University of Louisiana with a chemistry degree. She received her medical degree from the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine and completed her training in emergency medicine at Los Angeles County-King-Drew Medical Center, where she was chief resident.

Today, whether working as an emergency medicine specialist at Texas Regional Medical Center at Sunnyvale or as the physician supervisor at Dr Pepper Dallas-Fort Worth Bottling Co. in Irving, Taylor rarely encounters women physicians of color.

Impressed by the Disney Channel’s cartoon Doc McStuffins, which features an African-American girl as the lead character, Taylor wanted to share her profession with her daughter, Hana, 4. So she created an online collage of 131 African-American women physicians who are real-life Doc McStuffins and sent it to Disney.

“What we saw in Doc McStuffins resonated with our souls. We saw our image and our story in a positive light being shared with children all over the world,” Taylor says.

International media attention followed, along with a call for an organized way for more minority women who are medical professionals to share their common experiences.

With the help from physicians worldwide, Taylor created Artemis Medical Society, a new Fort Worth-based nonprofit organization that now boasts more than 2,000 members.

“I believe it can become an organization that can create positive change in medicine,” Taylor says. “I want Artemis to be the place where women physicians of color from around the world can find support in their professional endeavors. Artemis is here to help create that environment of support that is needed to keep them providing care in all of our communities.”

Taylor and her husband, William Schlitz, have three children: Haley, 10, Ian, 7 and Hana, who was adopted from Ethiopia.

What’s the most important piece of advice you’ve been given?

Never give up. It does not matter what happens in life, you can’t give up. You have to push forward and complete the journey.

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